Wooden barrels and beer have a long history, prior to stainless steel kegs the wooden barrel was what beer was stored and transported in. Today the wooden barrel is less for utility and more for the flavoring process. Brewers buy barrels that have previously contained wine or spirits, brew beer and age it in the used barrels to infuse a variety of flavors. The barrel aging process is part science and part art, from the barrel selection to the choice of beer to age, the sampling over time to decide when the beer has taken on the desired flavor profile and in some cases the blending of different vintages to create the final product.
Barrels will impart flavors and aromas into the beer that can’t be obtained during the brewing process that range from the wood itself to smoke or char, notes of the wine or spirits that previously found residence in the barrel and in wild barrel programs an inoculation from wild yeast or bacteria that have found a place in the wood.
Allagash Celebrates 10 years
Allagash Brewing Company is kicking off a celebration this week, 10 years ago the decision was made to give barrel aging a try. Acquiring some bourbon barrels and filling them with their Tripel, the result was Allagash Curieux.
“Among the hundreds of beers we’ve made, Curieux has had some of the most dedicated and passionate fans,” says Rob Tod, founder and brewer at Allagash Brewing Company. “Now, we want to return the affection by inviting Curieux lovers everywhere to join us in celebrating 10 years of this unique beer.”
To celebrate, Allagash is releasing a special limited edition Curieux 1.5L Magnum bottle, this special edition will be limited to 1,000 bottles. Allagash will also be hosting barrel aged beer events featuring rare Allagash beers and holding a video contest, the winner will get a trip to the Portland, Maine brewery.
Show some love
Show your love of Allagash and Curieux by making and submitting a short video, under 3 minutes in length, between October 15th and November 5th to enter the Curieux Vidieux Contesteaux for a chance to win a trip to the brewery.
“Tell a story, show your love for Curieux and inspire us,” said Tod. “We know how creative our fans are, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.”
After the entries are all in fans of Allagash will get to vote for their favorite video on Facebook, the top five videos will then be voted on by a panel of judges, the grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to the brewery in Portland, Maine and get to see how Curieux is made.
Pop a bottle
Curieux is available year round in bottles and on tap but for this special occasion they have released the 10th anniversary Curieux in a special magnum bottle.
“We’ve seen how Curieux lovers enjoy sharing this special beer with their friends,” said Sales Director Naomi Neville. “This magnum bottle with painted decoration makes for a wonderful way to share Curieux, and commemorate the occasion afterwards.”
To find a store near you that has one of these 1,000 bottles, visit Allagash.com/locator
Attend an event
During the month of October, Allagash will be hosting special celebrations in select markets across the country, each event will have a member of the Allagash team on hand to chat about the beer and barrel aging. Curieux will be not be the only special beer at these events, James Bean (Curieux with the addition of cold pressed coffee), Odyssey (dark wheat beer aged for 10 months partially in new American Oak barrels) and Bourbon Barrel Black (Belgian-style stout aged for one year in Bourbon barrels) will also be available.
To locate an event near you, visit Allagash.com/Curieux
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 the Allagash tasting room will have on a special selection of Barrel aged and non-barrel aged beers. Allagash Black alongside Bourbon Barrel Black as well as Allagash Tripel alongside Curieux and James Bean giving visitors a chance to sample and compare how the beers evolve during the barrel aging process. The tasting room will be open until 6:30pm and from 4:30-6:30 Allagash brewer, Ian Smith will be on hand to chat about the beers.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 Allagash will be hosting an event at Arcadia National Bar with the selection of rare offerings including Curieux, Odyssey, Bourbon Barrel Black and James Bean. Allagash’s Josh Wolf will be on hand to discuss the beers and barrel aging program.